Sydney has continued their strong form to beat the Jets 4-2 at No. 2 Sportsground and remain at the top of the Liberty A-League table. Madison Haley added to her season tally just 20 seconds after kick-off while Newcastle’s slow starts caused problems once again.
The Jets conceded three goals in the opening seven minutes, putting them on the back foot immediately. However, Adriana Konjarski scored her first of the season in the 10th minute, making it 3-1 after a chaotic opening.
Tara Andrews capitalised on a poorly defended corner in the 48th minute to bring the hosts just one goal away from sharing the points. But a penalty given away in the 64th minute quelled any of Newcastle’s momentum and put the game squarely out of reach.
The Jets managed to control most of the game and looked the better side on the pitch, but once again falling victim to the poor defensive starts that have plagued them this season. Head coach Ash Wilson was disappointed with the start but was proud to see the players’ resilience to get back in the game.
“We were just shellshocked after conceding the first one,” Wilson told media after the game.
“Then we conceded again during moments of lack of focus as we were still trying to calm ourselves from the initial shock of being on the back foot against one of the leading teams in the competition.
“They scored exactly how we thought they would, in transition with runs in behind. But the response to regroup and reorganise after that early period was really good to see.
“It’s a real credit to the girls to come back and even get themselves to 3-2 after that start. We didn’t concede from open play after that third goal and we managed to deal with their threats in a really good way.”
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At the halfway mark of their season, the Jets currently sit in eighth on the table with seven points. They’re two wins out of the top four with matches against Canberra and the Wanderers in their next two, both teams are sitting around Newcastle on the table and strong performances could propel the Jets into a strong run home.
They’re hoping to be boosted by American Sarah Griffith and first-choice goalkeeper Georgina Worth who missed Saturday’s game due to illness. Tessa Tamplin returned to the bench and played the last 30 minutes after missing a month of games as the Jets finally look at a shrinking injury list.
Poor defensive results in the first half of the season leave Newcastle in a situation where they need to find ways to walk away from their remaining fixtures with points of any form. Wilson spoke candidly after the game, saying they’ve got a lot of work to do.
“We’re in a position where every game is crucial,” she said.
“That’s the mindset that we have to take into everything moving forward, we have to get as many points as we can from the next games.
“Obviously you want to do that every week, but there’s a little bit more pressure as the season builds and you’re in the position that we’re in.
“It’s not something that scares me or the girls, you saw how they reacted last week when Adelaide was a bit of a ‘must-win’ to continue our season.
“Every week from here on in is going to be crucial for us.”
The Jets controlled the majority of Saturday’s game, responding strongly on the defensive end and constantly putting pressure on Sydney’s defence in the final third. It felt as if Newcastle’s equaliser was ready to strike at any moment up until the penalty was conceded with just over twenty minutes to go.
Wilson admitted it was frustrating to see a performance of that quality be hampered by such a poor start. When asked if she thought the scoreline reflected the result, she was happy to disagree but was honest in saying it was probably deserved.
“We had a lot of control there, and especially in the second half I thought,” she said.
“The girls came out well, we had good energy, and they were much more composed I thought. We could’ve tightened up our final product, I think a lot of the delivery and final passes in that last play could’ve been better.
“You can come away from a scoreline and think it felt right, but today I feel like it wasn’t as reflective as the balance of the game. But that’s football, you have to put away your chances and you have to make sure you aren’t conceding early like we did today.
“Sometimes the scoreline shows the moments you haven’t capitalised on.”
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